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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  December 20, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PST

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house. as you've been talking about throughout the hour, andrea, the hard work of selling this to the american people now begins. >> and we've got to go. thanks to all. the tax bill is passed. 224-201. craig melvin, take it away in new york. a big day in washington. >> a big day, indeed. craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york. we start with groundhog day for tax reform. just a few moments ago, the house passing that massive tax cut bill, handing president trump his first significant legislative victory. the senate forced to act several provisions passed by the house. that vote which you just saw play out on our air a few moments ago. president trump scheduled for quite the public victory lap in about two hours. republicans and the white house promising, it will be right what ails the gop brand. the only thing working against their predictions right now,
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voter sentiment. let's go back to kristen welker at the white house, garrett haake is on capitol hill. kristen -- garrett, let me start with you. a lot of folks believing once republicans pass this bill, it will inevitably lead to a fight over entitlements like medicare. what are you hearing on that? >> reporter: that's almost certainly coming down the pipe, craig. there was a concern this would trigger automatic cuts to medicare and medicaid. looks like the provisions that require that will probably be waived. the speaker and other republicans have been clear. they're not done here and they see this -- the debate on the deficit part is not over. they see the next conversation on deficit as being a conversation about entitlements. speaker ryan laid it out on the "today" show this morning. >> are you saying that the growth you're going to get from this tax cut will equal the amount it would cost on the deficit side so that it's a
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wash, so that you're not adding to the deficit at all because of this? >> nobody knows the answer to that question because that's in the future. in addition to getting the economy growing faster and getting people in higher paying jobs is we have to control our spending. that we have more work to do. >> reporter: so, control our spending can be a euphemism for a lot of things, craig. it's clear that entitlement programs are something that this congress and this president are now saying they want to look at early next year. >> a lot of folks are surprised to hear the speaker of the house there, known for being the policy wonk answer, no one really knows the answer. that was his response to whether this is going to add to the deficit. >> reporter: better that than to get boxed in with some 100%, absolutely positive quote that it won't and then they find out later. remember, a lot of the assumptions around this bill, the studies and data that republicans produced to back this up was built on this sort of future actions being taken by congress. yeah, if we repeal more
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regulations and if we pass an infrastructure bill and if we do all these other things, here's how the growth model might work. but the congress that exists right now can't promise they'll be able to do those things next year or if a future congress after 2018, which may look very different, will feel the same way. so, he's right in that sense. the deficit implications of this, we're just not going to know for a while. >> president trump last hour already talking about how well these tax cuts will do. even how this bill repealed obamacare while no one was really looking or paying attention. what does the white house -- what are they saying about these negative polls? what are they saying about the fact that so many americans view this tax cut bill as they know it, as a bill that's largely going to benefit the wealthy and corporations? >> reporter: well, i think the talking points at the white house are very similar to what we're hearing on capitol hill, which is once americans start to feel the effect of this piece of legislation, they will start to
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like it more. they are predicting a number of americans will start to feel the effects of that tax cut come february. so, we'll have to wait and see if that happens. but that could be critical to turning around some of those numbers. now according to our latest nbc news/"wall street journal" polt, 41% of respondents say this tax bill is a bad idea, in part, because of the perception that it's going to help the wealthy and hurt the middle class. the reason why there is that perception, to some extents, craig, because the corporate tax rate is the biggest tax cut. it's being slashed from 35% to 21%. most individuals will see a tax cut. that's not going to be a permanent tax cut. that will lapse in about a decade or so. that's part of the pushback. and the fact it does repeal the obamacare individual mandate. according to nonpartisan projections, that could leave an additional 13 million people without health insurance. but today president trump touted that as a positive step that
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would save the middle class money. listen to what he had to say during that cabinet meeting. >> so, in this bill not only do we have massive tax cuts and tax reform, we have essentially repealed obamacare and we'll come up with something that will be much better. whether it's block grants or taking what we have and doing something terrific. but obamacare has been repealed in this bill. >> reporter: so, that is a significant part of this legislation. it was one of the more controversial pieces, but it did, in fact, pass. a lot of people, craig, said you can't combine health care with tax reform. well, republicans today proving that that wasn't the case. they are going to take a big victory lap here in just about two hours or so. house and senate republicans about to load up on that -- those buses that you see right there. they're going to come here to the white house. i anticipate we will hear from not only president trump but likely the vice president as well as house speaker paul ryan
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and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. we'll try to get some questions to him as well. but, again, having failed to repeal and replace obamacare, today is a big day for the president, his first major legislative victory. >> any word when the president will sign the bill? >> reporter: i think that's still being worked out. we anticipate he's going to do that likely -- the official ceremony will be here at the white house. we'll have to see if he sort of signs it while he's at mar-a-lago. we know he'll be leaving to spend his christmas break there. >> the optics of the president signing a tax bill at mar-a-l o mar-a-lago. garrett haake, kristen welker at 1600 pennsylvania. katherine is a columnist for "the washington post," ben white, chief economic correspondent for politico, also a cnbc contributor and david, a senior editor at the international business times.
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ben, let me start with you, before we get to taxes, the president there saying, quote, obamacare has been repealed in this bill. true or false? >> false. 100% false. it gets rid of one of the three legs but medicare expansion is there, protection for people with pre-existing conditions still there, subsidies for people who buy insurance on the exchanges all still there. so, this probably weakens it a bit, makes the marketplaces less stable, but this is absolutely not an obamacare repeal. >> as we're having this conversation, you see some lawmakers there getting ready to -- they're on the bugs. headed over to the white house. we're going to see a couple of those buses head over as lawmakers and the president get together for some high-fiving. it sounded like speaker ryan there was very much open to the idea of touching entitlements despite the fact that president trump time and time again on the campaign trail vowed that he would not touch entitlements. is that where you see this is going now? >> i really doubt it, to be honest with you. it's very hard to cut social
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security, medicare, medicaid. i think paul ryan would love to do it. indeed if this is his last year in congress, as we reported before, he's looking at the exits, that's the other part of the paul ryan dream, do this tax reform or cut entitlements. very unpopular. i don't know how you go from cutting the corporate tax rate, cutting rich people's taxes to slashing the entitlement state and expect to do well in 2018. good luck to him. i doubt he's able to do it. >> gary cohn, they both insisted this bill is going to do wonders for the stock market. take a listen. >> i don't think the market's even begun to realize how good these are. >> so, i think there's a lot more momentum in the stock market. >> what do those two baskets tell you? >> those two baskets tell me these tax cuts are not surprised into the stock market. >> can the white house and gary, can they insist, reliably, that
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this is going to mean a boon for the stock market that's already booming? >> the stock market is booming in part because corporations are expected to use this windfall they're getting for a stock buybacks, for dividends, both things that will drive up stock prices. yes, it is certainly possible that equity markets will continue to grow. whether or not that's a good gauge of the economy is a separate question, an entirely separate question. beyond that, it's hard to attribute this run-up in asset prices in the united states entirely to the tax bill. if you look at what's happening in stock markets elsewhere in the world, they've been going up just as much or more. and those are companies that are not necessarily going to benefit from the stock market. so, yes, there is some connection between this tax legislation and what's happening in equities but it's not the only factor here. >> it's also, and savannah hit on this this morning on the "today" show, this idea that corporations who have been sitting on a pile of money for some time are all of a sudden going to take their windfall from this tax bill and pay their
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workers more. what is that rooted? >> fantasy. really, i mean, companies have lots of cash that they're sitting on. if you look at the price of stock markets -- price of equities relative to earnings, it suggests that equity-based financing is very cheap, loans are very cheap to get, even companies that are not publicly listed. if you look at small and medium sized companies, they say they have no trouble getting loans. the reason why they're not investing, they're not hiring has nothing to do with taxes. it has nothing to do with the availability of capital. they don't see opportunities out there to invest and they don't see reasons to hire and raise wages. the fact they're going to get this big tax windfall in the form of this tax legislation suggests that nothing is going to change. they're just going to pocket it, they'll return it to shareholders. >> david, republicans have checked off a number of key agenda items by signing this bill, passage of a tax overhaul, elimination of the individual mandate in obamacare,
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confirmation of justice neil gorsuch to the supreme court, confirmation of a dozen appellate court judges. i maintain that is probably the most significant of the president's accomplishments so far. and a number of rollback of obama-era regulations. also tucked away inside this tax bill, companies will be able to drill in the arctic national wildlife refuge. this is what their voters wanted. could this help reverse the sagging poll numbers that the president is seeing, that the gop is seeing? >> i don't think there's much indication of that when you look at the polling on this tax bill. i'm not sure this is what the public wants when you look at those polls. it's hard to take the election that happened in 2016 and say voters were voting for this. president trump -- candidate trump ran thematically and in some cases specifically against some of the provisions that are in this bill. i mean, as an example, he ran against -- to close the carried interest loophole and that loophole was not closed in this
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bill. he ran to bring american jobs back to the united states and not subsidize or incentivize offshoring, there are provisions in this bill to do the exact opposite of that. if you're president trump, a handful of republicans in congress with real estate holdings, this is a great day for you. this is a great day for paul ryan who owns a number of llcs in his personal financial holdings. this is a great day for you because the provisions that were slipped into this bill at the last minute are potentially going to enrich you in a huge way, personally enrich you in a huge way. the question americans are going to be asking is whether it is going to benefit the broad majority of americans who don't have real estate, llcs, who aren't commercial real estate moguls. that's going to be the big question about whether this bill is popular or unpopular. >> you mentioned speaker ryan. you've got some other reporting on lawmakers there who have going to personally benefit from the passage of this bill. who are they and do we -- can we surmise how much they might benefit from the passage, now
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that it's law? >> well, it's hard to figure out exactly the amount these legislators and president trump might benefit because we can't go into -- in the multilayers of the shell companies and llcs and partnerships they have in their holdings. what we can say is the provisions that were included in the bill, a couple of revisions we reported on, one on oil pipeline revisions and another on real estate provisions that when you look at those provisions, the pipeline provision, for instance, ted cruz is somebody who has invested in master limited partnerships and there's a provision to reduce taxes on earnings from those. that's one example. ron johnson, the senator from wisconsin, has a number of large real estate-related llcs, so does senator bob corker, who had voted against the senate bill when it didn't include these provisions, and then switched his final vote when this provision was inserted. we don't know the exact number,
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but we can see which lawmakers own the kind of vehicles that could benefit. my hope moving forward is reporting on this bill and other economic bills will look at lawmakers' personal financial holdings to see how the public policies they're making could potentially privately benefit them. >> ben, i want to remind listeners and viewers what president trump said about this bill a few months ago at a campaign-style rally. take a listen. >> this our framework includes our commitment that tax reform will protect low income and middle income households. not the wealthy and well-connected. >> did the president with this bill live up to that promise? >> no, he didn't. let's be fair. most people under this tax bill will get a tax cut in the first couple of years. that includes lower income, middle income, pretty much everyone. some people won't. some people get a tax hike. if you live in a state with high state and local taxes. all of the tax cuts for individuals eventually expire and a lot are relatively small. corporations, permanent, huge
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tax cut. if you have pass-through income, as david was talking about, you get big tax cuts. if you have a big estate you're handing down to your h eir s, you get big tax cuts. a lot of the wealthy and powerful do well under this. the open question is, does the corporate side eventually help middle and lower income people? katherine has articulated very well the fact it may not because there is a lot of cash people have right now. no guarantees this trickles down to average folks. so, i wouldn't say he lived up to that. he also said i'm going to kill the carry-interest loopholes, he didn't do that. >> very quickly. ben raises a good point. this idea once people start seeing larger paychecks, does this bill immediately become more popular? >> maybe, but if you look at what happened with the recovery act, you know, this was the big economic stimulus that happened as a result of the recession, there was actually a much bigger tax cut for middle income people from that than from this legislation. and the perception was amongst
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the vast majority of people that they did not get a tax cut. it was just not significant enough for them to really feel it. in fact, something like a quarter of people thought their taxes went up. so, the perceptions of this bill are going to be very hard to surmount, even if people see a small lift in their paychecks, they may not notice it. >> thank you. david, good to have you, sir. thank you, come back. we have a republican congresswoman from new york state standing by. this is what she said about the same tax bill back in november before she made up her mind on her vote. >> all eight of my counties are in the top 36 highest property taxes in the nation. it's problematic when you have high tax states like new york. >> about 20 minutes ago, she voted yes. we'll ask her what changed her mind. plus, why voters are giving trump credit for the economy but not -- not the republican party. ♪ this holiday, the real gift isn't what's inside the box.
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the gop tax plan passed by the house just moments ago, the vote 224-201. the senate approved that measure yesterday. the bill will now be sent to the white house for president trump's signature. let's bring in new york republican congresswoman claudia tinny. she represents the 22nd district, including the city of binghamton. thank you for your time. congratulations, by the way. >> thank you. zoom you -- you are one of four in the new york congress appear delegation that voted for this bill. you initially had some doubts about this bill. what changed your mind? >> first of all, i had doubts because the original budget language that came from the senate instructed us to completely eliminate the state and local tax deduction, otherwise known as smpblts .a.l. that would be great if we were in a medium or low tax or no
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state tax like florida or pennsylvania. for me the s.a.l.t. deduction was something necessary to cover my middle income tax pairs who itemize, about 30% of the people in my district itemize right now. at least 30% of filers. adding in the s.a.l.t., bringing it to $10,000, the ability to use it for income, property and sales tax or any combination of that up to $10,000 actually covers about 99% of my property owners. and quite honestly, many of my constituents are retirees. they're in the new york state pension system. a lot of them are retired teachers, corrections officers and civil servants and they don't pay any income tax at all on their retirement income. in our case, s.a.l.t. wasn't as big a factor on that side. you know who's getting hurt in my district and on the republican side as a member of the financial services committee, a lot of the high-income earners, especially lawers, personal service providers are not getting the pass-through benefit of manufacturers. we need to bring manufacturing back. that's something that is really
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important to me as the owner of a manufacturing business right in the heart of central new york. >> congresswoman, you expressed concerns initially about what this bill would do for the deficit. $1.5 trillion, perhaps $1 trillion, somewhere between the two. 37 of 38 economists on both ends of the spectrum that were recently polled by chicago tribune, all of them but one said that this is going to blow a hole in the deficit. how do you reconcile that with what you've said in the past about cutting the deficit? >> first of all, this is a very pro-growth policy. if you want to bring jobs back to an area like mine that's the rust belt, we have the largest out-migration of jobs and people and iconic businesses like ibm, that was founded in my district that once had 15 sthou employees and now down to 200. people are leaving new york state in droves because of our high taxes, unfunded mandates. we're always ranked almost last or dead last in
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business-friendliness. we have the highest taxes and highest mandates. we have the highest cronyism rate -- >> congresswoman, that wasn't my question. >> i'm getting to your question. $8 billion is taken from our taxpayers and used for these croniest schemes in an unconstitutional setting. yes, with growth, with repat traiting jobs back to our communities, giving our pass-tlus to our small businesses -- >> you think this is a bill -- >> i keep reading statistics from economists that are now turning over and saying, if we maintain the 1.8 or 1.9% growth we're getting right now, we're still probably going to be doing okay. we'll continue on a deficit path that's been growing -- >> speaker ryan -- >> if we get to 3% we're at now, and we haven't passed tax reform yet -- >> speaker ryan just said a few hours ago, he didn't know. he didn't know if this was a bill that would pay for itself but you're saying --
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>> i think it actually will be a huge help to new york. i think it's going to prove to help itself. i'm hoping and praying ask i've been working on democrats, wishing they would come aboard and join us and try to create growth to get away from the tax and spend policies that have made new york virtually a socialist economy that have driven people, entrepreneurs, everyone from our state, join us in trying to grow the economy, grow the united states, make us a strong leader, bring back american jobs to a community like mine. the erie canal was started in my district over 200 years ago. we started the industrial revolution. it's been eviscerated by leftist policies from andrew cuomo and assembly men who have not just corruption but driven it out of our state. >> we'll leave it there. congresswoman, thank you sdmroop thank you. a turning point, the shift we're seeing and a key question of our new nbc news poll that
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passage of a very unpopular tax plan is not likely to help
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president trump make inroads in his dismal approval ratings. our new poll finds president trump's approval rating sits at 41%. that's up slightly from october but the lowest for any modern president ending his first year in office, to help put that in perspective for you, president obama ended his first year in office with 47% approval rating. senator political editor mark murray joins me now. how unusual is this approval number for a president at the end of the first year of his administration. >> we've never seen a modern president at this low at this point at the end of their first year in office. i would say former president obama's numbers are instructive. there's increased polarization in this country where i think any new president ends up getting a smaller share of the opposition party than we saw decades ago. but to me what is most notable about president trump's approval ratings is just the inelasticity
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of his numbers. he started out in our poll at 44%. his lowest number was 38% inspect now at 41%. his points have moved around six points which shows how perceptions of him are so locked in. that's a counterargument to people who say once this tax bill gets known by more people, he'll become more popular and this will, given how baked in perceptions are about president trump, given all the news we've experienced over the past year. >> inelasticity. there was skepticism here when you used that word whether it was actually a word. i looked it up, congratulations, mark, it is in fact a word. >> thank you. >> any other big takeaways from the poll? >> yeah. our poll looked at 2020. president trump's chances. of course, we have a long ways to go, discount anything you might end up seeing for an election three years away but 36% of americans say they would support trump for his
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re-election bid. that 36% is smaller than the 46% he ended up getting in the popular vote, so you can see he doesn't have as much support as he had on election day of 2016. another number that really struck out to me, this was the best number for president trump in the poll, you had by a two-to-one margin saying president trump made the economy and his approach better rather than worse. 40% say it's been better. 21% worse. but then maybe the biggest poll result out of everything we produced, democrats have the advantage when it comes to the economy. craig, they haven't had this since february of 2013. that is just months after barack obama's successful re-election bid. you know, if we continue to see this in poll after poll, if democrats have the advantage on the economy, that's just another sign of how rough the midterm environment might be for the republicans next year. >> mark murray for us there in washington, d.c. thanks, as always, sir. >> thank you. anna palmer, senior
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washington correspondent for politico, josh barro from political insider and lonnie chin, stanford university director of policy study, and mitt romney policy adviser. as we just saw in that poll, president trump getting credit for improving economy but he's not getting any political value for it and his approval numbers there. how do you explain that? >> well, clearly americans are feeling good about where the economy is. as matt was saying, you know, they are very polarized and his numbers are pretty sticky in terms of where they see his popularity. we haven't seen a big shift. i think one of the big questions will be the house finally passed the tax bill here so they're coming on a win. do americans see this as a victory by president trump or not? the polling does not look good right now. but republicans continue to argue if americans see more in their paycheck, they'll see this as a victory by president trump.
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>> 24% of americans when polled said they thought this republican tax plan is a good idea. is this is because the plan itself is just bad or is it because republicans have done a poor job of selling their plan? josh? all right, we're clearly having some audio issues there with josh. lonnie, i'll pose that same question to you. i gather you could hear that question. is the plan itself bad or did they do a bad job selling it? >> well, i think republicans have not been particularly good at talking about the benefits of this bill. even if you look at the nonpartisan analyses of tax policy center, which is no right-wing outfit, they recently came out with a study that showed 80% of taxpayers are going to see a tax rate -- a tax reduction next year. so, a lot of the benefits of this bill with front-loaded. 2018, 2019, 2020, those are
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going to be pretty good years. so, republicans do have a case to make. i don't think they've done a particularly good job of making it. hopefully now that the actual debate is behind them, they can move forward and talk about what some of these benefits might be. then the problem will be, once you get past 2020 and beyond, the picture becomes much more uncertain. they've got to capitalize on these first couple of years. >> are you confident that this is a bill that republicans are going to be able to successfully run on during the midterms? >> i think it's going to work to their advantage if they make the case that this is middle class tax reduction. they've tried to make that case. i think they've had various reasons why they haven't been able to necessarily make that case effectively. but i do think the biggest factor, craig, the biggest factor's going to be what is the economy look like going into the 2018 elections? in the same way for president trump, what does the economy look like going into 2020? if the economy is performing well, if we're seeing economic
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growth in excess of 3%, the stock market in my mind is an n ancillary factor, but if it's doing well, i think they'll do better than the ballots now. >> josh, we've fixed your microphone. a live look at capitol hill as lawmakers prepare to board these buses for that trip over to the white house for a -- for what will, no doubt -- what will undoubtedly be a bit of a pep rally, a lot of high-fiving at the white house. plan itself, bad plan or did the republicans do a plan of selling it? >> i think each. "the new york times" did a poll with survey monkey found only 32% of people believed this plan will give them a tax cut next year. the tax policy center estimates that's about 80%, so i think there may be some effect where people will see they're getting more in their paycheck. that may change the perception of the plan. the problem is the changes in the paycheck won't be that big.
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people's paychecks change for all sorts of reasons. people get raises on january 1st, health plan elections change on january 1st. all factors change what comes out of your paycheck. we saw with the 2009 stimulus, barack obama's tax plan had cuts for middle americans and he didn't get credit for that. strong economic performance will save republicans or president trump, is the economy is already good. voters are not giving trump credit for that in the polling and the special election for congress, they're not giving that credit to republicans. democrats are massively overperforming in these special elections and the polls have moved against republicans over the last few months. there was that high-profile election in georgia over the summer. at that point democrats were ahead by six points on those generic ballot polls. now it's moving towards 13 in an average of the polls. the remarkable thing is usually public opinion of the president and of the party in power moves with the economy. the dangerous thing for republicans is the economy's pretty good right now and voters are not giving them any credit
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for that. i don't see any reason to think that's going to change in the next 11 months. >> i want to call your attention, all of you, call your attention to this part of the nbc news/"wall street journal" poll that caught our eye as well. it found nearly two-thirds of all of those polled believe that the gop tax plan is designed mostly to help corporations and the wealthy. lonnie, in passing this bill, does your party lose the ability to continue to run on this populous platform that the president used to deliver the white house? >> well, i'd say, craig, in some ways the party's always been conflicted in the sense you had president trump running on a more populous set of themes. you've got a lot of republicans, though, that those themes are an uncomfortable fit for some of the reasons that you've outlined. if you look at this tax bill, this is a very traditional republican tax bill in the sense that the kinds of things you see in here, marginal rate reductions, tax cut, some elements of reform in trying to
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simplify the code and broaden the base of taxation -- >> doubling the estate tax exemption, you left that out. >> state and local tax exemptions is always something republicans have been totally fine -- >> how do you -- how do you sell doubling the estate tax to voters in iowa or ohio or anywhere in the rust belt? how do you sell that? how do you also -- how do you also sell being able to now use your 529s to lower the cost of private school education? how do you sell that? >> on the issue of estate tax, what republicans have always argued, this is an aspirational tax. it only affects a small percentage of americans. a lot of americans aspire to be in a situation where they can pass things on to their hheir s
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and potentially pass things on. my argument simply is this whole tax plan as a piece is something that you would have expected out of any republican, not just donald trump. >> anna, as we continue to watch these lawmakers -- by the way, anna, i always find any time we see these lawmakers boarding buses to take the trip down the street to the white house, for some reason it always makes me chuckle. i'm not exactly sure why, but watching these lawmakers from the house and senate board these charter buses, that's what's happening while we have this conversation. what's next? what are you hearing about what comes down the pipe in terms of legislatively after this? >> it's a little bit like a school excursion, right, when you see them boarding these buses to go less than a mile. >> i wonder who gets to sit next to each other on the bus. >> exactly. where the popular kids are. actually, what's going to be very critical here is the next 24 hours. republicans are trying to figure out a path forward on government funding right now.
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so far there isn't a clear path. house republicans looked at doing three separate bills, a funding bill, a bill that would do fisa/national security, and separate national disaster funding bill. there's been consternation amongst different parts of the house republicans. they're trying to figure out -- we're going quickly towards a shutdown midnight on friday. it doesn't feel like -- there's this palpable sense of energy that they want to take advantage of this, go home for christmas on a win. but at the same time, they have to find a pathway forward here and, you know, they want to be able to say, hey, we can govern, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. the proof will be in the pudding in the next 24 to 48 hours. >> thank you. josh, our apologies on your microphone. josh, really quickly, we're out of time, were you at all surprised at how quickly republicans were able to pull
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this off and -- in terms of obstacles and road blocks, not nearly as many as a lot of folks thought there would be? >> i was somewhat surprised. there are all these details in the bill that affect various lobby groups and positive or often negative directions. the changes that reduce the value of the deductions for mortgage interest and property tax are negative for home builders, realtors, other lobbies that are traditionally powerful in washington. i was impressed how republicans were able to roll over opposition from the broad public and specific interest groups. that's a reason i think this bill is likely to hurt them in the election next year. it's unpopular and lots of people have specific reasons to be upset about specific provisions in the bill. they can take those frustrations to the ballot box. >> we gave josh a little more time because he joins us from the left coast on this wednesday. thank you. taking shots -- why one of president trump's earliest allies says the president's son-in-law, jared kushner, deserves the scrutiny he's getting in the russia investigation. also, while all eyes were on
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the tax bill, nearly 9 million sick children still waiting for an answer from washington. the growing calls to renew the children's health insurance program as the money starts to run out. ♪ [vo] progress is an unstoppable force. the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event.
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hepatitis b or c, or are prone to infections. xeljanz xr can reduce the symptoms of ra, even without methotrexate. ask your rheumatologist about xeljanz xr. two senate committees investigating russian interference in the 2016 election are now looking at the campaign of third-party candidate jill stein. investigators are reportedly interested in stein's advocacy
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for better relations with russia. she is said to have been a kremlin favorite since her first run as a green party presidential candidate back in 2012. nbc news, intelligence and national security reporter has been following the developments in this story. why the sudden interest in jill stein, ken? >> good afternoon, craig. jill stein has been a regular fixture on russia state-owned propaganda network and she even attended the gala in 2016 in moscow that was attended by mike flynn, where they sat together at dinner with vladimir putin. afterwards she filmed a video in red square where she denounced american exceptionalism. you can find that on youtube. investigators want to know whether the russians helped her 2016 green party campaign, something she denies. it's worth noting that her vote totals in that campaign in the swing states of wisconsin and michigan, were larger than donald trump's margin of victory. you can see why the russians might have been interested in helping her. again, she denies that, craig.
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>> let's turn to special counsel's investigation now. new jersey governor chris christie served on the trump campaign, part of the transition until he got fired, former u.s. attorney. he was asked by nicolle wallace here yesterday how mueller's office might be viewing the president's son-in-law, senior adviser, jared kushner. this is just part of what chris christie said about that. >> i'm telling you that he deserves the scrutiny. you know why? because he was involved in the transition, involved in meetings that call into question his role. okay. well, then if he's innocent of that, then that will come out as mueller examines all the facts. if he's not, that will come out, too. >> how vulnerable is jared kushner here, ken? >> craig, there is no doubt that jared kushner is under intense scrutiny by special counsel's office, according to what our sources are telling us. there is special focus on the meetings he conducted during the transition, some with russians, some with others, and a question
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about whether he was mixing his transition role with his private real estate role. specifically there was a meeting he did with a bank linked to russian intelligence where the bank said, hey, this was a business meeting and kushner said, no, actually, i was meeting with them in my capacity as transition official. there are questions about why he failed to initially disclose more than 100 contacts on his foreign security form. a lot of scrutiny on jared kushner. >> thank you. the tax vote is done. it's in the books. what does congress tackle next? we'll introduce you to one of the millions of families hoping desperately for it to be the children's health insurance program. >> if little sally happens to break her arm or, you know, get sick and it's nice to have coverage for little accidents. for us it's to keep them alive. traders -- they're always looking for advantages. the smart ones look to fidelity to find them.
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five year reauthorization of chip must be paid for. it's sunseted and it must be paid for. >> that was minority leader nancy pelosi today calling for congress to reauthorize the children's health insurance program. federal funding for that program stopped at the end of september after congress was unable to reach a deal. the kaiser family foundation estimates that 16 states, highlighted for you there, those 16 states will be completely out
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of money by the end of the year. our reporter traveled to utah to meet one of the nearly 9 million families who rely on chip's funding for their child's critical medical treatments. >> all right, we're going to take our meds. >> reporter: the reynolds run a tight ship. with ten kids in the house, the family tries to plan ahead for everything, especially their children's health expenses. >> usually we generally plan about $20,000 every two months, so about $120,000 a year for their treatments, and then there's all the other stuff. >> reporter: so that's not including pills, doctors visits, none of that. that's because two of their children 13-year-old jason and 11-year-old kelsey have chromes disease, an auto immune disease that attacks the digestive system. the kids need treatments every two months. her husband matt works for a
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company based in california. his health insurance could not guarantee coverage in utah where the family lives, but their income made them eligible for coverage through the children's health insurance program, also known as chip. if you didn't have chip, what would paying all this mean for the family? >> realistically we would probably have to go on food stamps just to pay for life, so we could pay our medical bills. >> reporter: the parents aren't the only ones feeling the financial stress. >> they're always telling us how it's not our problem to worry about, but i worry about it anyways because it's like kind of my fault in a way. but it always is like no, it's not your problem to worry about. >> reporter: the children's health insurance program is funded through a mix of state and federal money. but federal funding lapsed in september and congress has yet to agree on a way to pay for it on a long-term basis leaving the program and the reynolds in
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limbo. >> it has opened up kind of a pandora's box a little bit emotionally to be able to not know what's going to happen in the next six months, two years, five years. >> reporter: the reynolds are not alone. approximate approximately 20,000 children here in utah and 5 million nation wide-stand to lose coverage. >> why hasn't chip been funded. >> reporter: amid mounting pressure both nationally and locally senators like utah's orrin hatch, who was a key architect of the program says a solution remains a top priority. but families like the reynolds say time is running out. >> for us chip isn't if little sally happens to break her arm or, you know, gets sick and it's nice to have coverage for little accidents. for us it's to keep them alive.
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>> reporter: msnbc, pleasant grove, utah. >> republicans loading up the buses there on capitol hill right now. they are headed to the white house. they are going to be celebrating the passage of the tax bill. we will hear from them roughly an hour from now. so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what? keep going! yeah... (laughs)
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and that's going to do it for this hour of msnbc live. katy tur standing by to pick things up. >> how are you?
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>> i'm well. how are you? you know what? that's a suit. >> it's 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where the message for republicans today is trust me, you'll like it. >> this bill means more take-home pay. it will be an incredible christmas gift for hardworking americans. >> workers benefit through this through higher wages. it's not a question of if but how much they benefit. >> when people see their with holdings go down in february, when they see their tax cut, that's going to change the view of this. >> when they're seeing the economic growth that will result from historic tax reform, i think people are going to change their view on this. >> my view is if we can't sell this bill to the american people, we ought to go into another line of work. >> as it unfolds, those popularity polls are going to

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